Sunday, August 31, 2008

"precisely choreographed orgies"

More Cowboys football talk! Weeee!

It might be old news. But. You have to wonder why Irvin isn't one of the three billion ex-football players to currently have a job in TV.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'll hum "What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor" and you start reciting "The Autumn Wind Is A Raider." Ready?

It was hard for me tell if this Slate article was a review of HBO's Hard Knocks or a promo for writer Stefan Fatsis' own book. By the end, though, what is clear is that Fatsis can look at a group of men -- some with bad attitudes, some with criminal records, some with an inexplicable need to seek out TMZ cameras -- and pick out the "blowhard coaches [who are] taking their jobs way too seriously" as the real villains.

"We want the speechifying, Princeton-educated Garrett brothers, both offensive coaches, to be drowned in a training-room ice tub." We do? Because I think Jason Garrett is pretty well-regarded. And he's the next head coach.

But here is where Fatsis completely loses me: "In one scene, safety Roy Williams reveals the players' dim view of their bosses after one compliments him. 'I'm sure the coaches will find something to say,' he sniffs. (Sure enough—and credit to NFL Films for showing it—we cut to a staff meeting were a coach criticizes Williams for reacting too slowly on a play.)" Roy Williams, who each week desperately wiggles his way into every HBO shot, has sucked hard for quite some time now. I don't think the coaches are the problem.

Fatsis is right to say that Hard Knock is "terrific entertainment, but it's not journalism." Otherwise, we'd know the identity of the player who's "been a bum the whole camp."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Go Cuppycake go

Chihuahua races this Sunday. I haven't bought a racing form yet so I don't know who the oddsmakers like but I've picked my favorite.

"We view those that cut costs too future road kill for better-positioned retailers"

Things aren't getting any better for Sears. It could be their chairman. Could be their format: "Another key problem is that Sears' strategy - a century-old 'general store' model in which women may find themselves walking past sections full of tools, washers and dryers when they're searching for clothes - is outdated, says Michael Stone, CEO of the Beanstalk Group, a branding and licensing consultant. 'Sears needs to pick its path,' Stone said. 'They can't travel down every road.'"

Looks like it'll be the clothing road because soon, Sears will be at Fashion Week! With LL Cool J and Dr Rey!

The last time I was at Fashion Week, GM sponsored the entire event and, while I haven't done any follow-up checking so I can't be sure, it totally changed everyone's mind about the carmaker and brought about genuine, lasting success. Must have. Didn't it?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Watch the breathing"

Keith couldn't have been more loathsome. Lack of empathy, inflated sense of self -- well, no need to continue. We all took Psych 101.

The really interesting thing might be that, after all these Project Runway seasons, people still aspire to be models. Because Project Runway's constant sub-plot is how unglamorous and de-humanizing the modeling profession actually is. Wendy Pepper's model had to make the best of a bottomless swimsuit, at least two women have gotten a steam iron to the crotch, a size-4 model was called "zaftig" and last night, Keith actually told his model to "watch the breathing." It can't be repeated often enough: Project Runway models do not get paid. If they're lucky enough to be paired with a talented designer, their photo might appear in Elle. Then if they work hard, catch a few breaks and go on to acheive great success, they get to marry a guy who looks like this. Really. These are brave, amazing women.

OH! I forgot the funniest moment from last night's show: seeing Laura Bennett seated next to Rachel Zoe. Wasn't it Laura who -- at the depth of despair in the black & white challenge -- wailed that she didn't have it in her to design something for the Olsen twins? Isn't Zoe responsible for that disheveled big-hair-raccoon-eyed-child-body look?

"He hopes the treat will earn him his fourth Big Tex Choice Award for the 2008 State Fair of Texas."

Yay! State Fair food news: "a pineapple ring battered and deep-fried, topped with banana-flavored whipped cream that’s been frozen in liquid nitrogen. The smoking concoction is covered in strawberries and syrup."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I have a conspiracy theory for everything. Why do you ask?

Maybe having Rafa refuse Nike's makeover was part of the strategy all along.

There's no place like that magazine that just shut down

Home magazine, like House & Garden before it, has called it a day. Right when, we're told, everyone's beginning to stay home. You'd think this would be the perfect time for a magazine that helps you enjoy your home more.

Maybe it is, if you approach it the right way: "some publishers say a drop in spending on homes doesn't necessarily reflect declining interest in home improvement, even if it has had a negative impact on advertising in some magazines. 'There are many ways you can improve a house, whether it's $15 for a can of paint or $15,000 for a new bathtub,' said Stephen Drucker, editor in chief of Hearst Corp.'s House Beautiful, which had a 19% increase in ad pages in its second quarter." That's very Home Depot-ish of him, isn't it?

But you know I love Stephen Drucker. After all, here's a guy who was named EIC of a shelter magazine at a time when everyone stopped reading magazines and buying homes. And still, he's game. This is from his letter in the August issue: "To everyone who hesitates that decorating is a luxury at this unsettled moment, I'd like to say that I think home is more important than ever, not a last priority in your budget, but a first. Now is the time to set a beautiful table and invite friends for dinner, rather than go to a restaurant...." Before he's done, he touches on every conceivable advertiser category from home accents and electronics to contractors. And I think it's a brilliant defense of his magazine's purpose. It could be a mission statement.

Then there's this news about Michaels: "Some product categories such as kids crafts, jewelry making, and baking supplies, have done well, but were offset by declines in bigger ticket items such as floral arrangements, home decor and custom framing." Seems to indicate that people don't want stuff so much as stuff to do when they're at home.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Local papers please copy

I'd like to congratulate the Morning News for jumping right on the DeMarcus Ware story -- the one that ran two months ago in the New York Times. This is so reassuring. Those Belo buyouts aren't going to damage product quality at all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Then again, maybe mom jeans are actually a statement of radical individualism

Just when I began to dismiss baby boomers as a caricature of themselves -- what with their Dennis Hopper retirement plans and their "don't trust anyone over 90" hair color -- I may have to change my mind. It started a few weeks ago when Grant McCracken wrote: "I believe some contingent of boomers will refuse all the stereotypes associated with age, and keep on going to defy the social stereotypes of every kind. In the process, they will be a new motor, much resented, for cultural change."

And then this, from a story about Sigrid Olsen and the demise of her brand: "clothing labels like Olsen's, made by and for the baby boomer generation, are among those being hardest hit by the current economic turmoil....from a retailer's perspective, boomers' tastes and attitudes are so varied that their fashion choices are no longer age specific or dedicated to one designer, which is having an impact on where they shop."

No loyalty to labels? Eclectic, maybe even quirky, tastes? Behavior that can't be stereotyped? Hmm. Are boomers more indie than their children?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

But a midi skirt over stirrup pants is my signature look

Of these 12 all-time horrible fashion trends, I'm -- at this very moment -- wearing at least nine.

Kohl's way of giving back to the community

I think we all realized Kohl's had given up on newspaper inserts the minute neighborhoods became blanketed in hand-distributed Kohl's fliers. You have to wonder. What is it about Kohl's that they so often end up as the subject of a blog rant?

Still, my own experience is that Kohl's is more pleasant than, say, the JCPenney stores at Valley View or Collin Creek -- which is unbelievable considering corporate headquarters is only miles away. Do retailing people ever shop at their own stores?

"Hell yeah I'll sit on this couch and eat this yogurt that makes you crap"

You'd think that Saturday Night Live bit would have shamed Activia into taking a different approach. No. They and their legions of mysteriously irregular women have soldiered on. And now buying any brand of yogurt is embarrassing. How did this happen? As someone who has always liked yogurt -- liked plain, nonfat yogurt simply for the taste -- I really wish Jamie Lee Curtis would go away.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I miss Kelli Martin already

Those midwestern girls, huh? Love them. Especially when they bite back. Especially when they go redhead. I think Project Runway is getting predictable in who gets spared and who gets auf'd but at least the judges' very personal criticism of Kelli should make the reunion show loads of fun.

Monday, August 11, 2008

When you assume

USWeekly's editor-in-chief Janice Min: "We proved that celebrity-magazine readers were not obese women who spent all day watching TV and smoking cigarettes."

Who was working under that assumption? Mostly Min, right?

ADDED: I only ask because this is how Min recently described her old boss Bonnie Fuller: "'She is able to almost distill the id of the reader,' Ms. Min says. 'She channels them in a way few others do, and what she heard is: "I don’t care about your acting method in your last movie. I just want to know what workout you used to get that fabulous body."'" [via Grant McCracken]

I just wonder who's more weight-obsessed -- Min or her readers?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Those opening ceremonies creeped me out

I may not be totally on Team Mia about all this but there was something odd about Friday night. Deja vu? And even though Bob Costas got excited, I thought the sight of hundreds of bodies moving in exact synchronization seemed less like an artistic vision and more like a totalitarian dream. What does Beijing mean by "1 world, 1 dream" anyway? Did everyone get wise to the whole "let a thousand flowers bloom" ruse? It must be OK to be straightforward with your planet-dominating intentions these days.

ADDED: Computer-generated? Well, why not? As long as Matt Lauer thinks it's OK.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

More of the same

For reasons I can't explain, these two items made me think of the atmosphere inside some offices:

This Project Runway recap from Manolo's Shoe Blog: "this brings up...the Manolo calls 'faux eccentricity,' the tendency of among many young fashion designers to adopt outrageous clothing and patently false personas in the hopes that they will mask the fully conventional heart which beats beneath. Grotesque tattoos, wacky clothing, and affectedly stereotypical personas do not the unconventional mind make. True and original eccentricity is as rare as the white buffalo."

And this quote from an article highlighted by "The first disadvantage of an elite that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren't like you. Elite schools pride themselves on their diversity, but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of ethnicity and race. With respect to class, these schools are largely-indeed increasingly-homogeneous."

Friday, August 01, 2008

I would now like to welcome Richie Whitt to my world

Yes, I-30 between Dallas and Arlington is the world's ugliest stretch of highway. It's also been under construction since Nolan Ryan was an active major leaguer. This is what makes the drive to Fort Worth -- or just to Six Flags or a Rangers game -- such a grind. Where you'd gladly drive an equal distance to the minor league park in Frisco or an outlet mall in Allen, the drive along 30 is bleak and soul-draining.

And someone in the Cowboys organization must realize this. Because if you're a season ticket holder who passed on tickets at the new stadium, you got a follow-up survey. Why didn't you renew? Is it the expense? Is it your age? (!) Is it the new location?

Pretty smart on the Cowboys' part. Right now, everyone answers that it's the cost. That's all anyone's dealing with -- now. Next year, when everyone will be bitching about the road construction and the traffic, the Cowboys will point to their consumer research and tell us that, according to their numbers, no one minds the drive. But really? Everyone hates that drive.